- CNN’s Chris Cuomo joined his brother, Andrew Cuomo, for “strategy calls,” according to The Washington Post.
- The younger Cuomo reportedly helped craft a PR response to sexual harassment allegations against the New York governor.
- CNN issued a statement saying his involvement was “inappropriate.”
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CNN host Chris Cuomo was reportedly brought into “strategy calls” with his brother, Andrew Cuomo, and his aides to iron out a communications strategy following the litany of sexual harassment allegations leveled against the New York governor earlier this year.
Andrew Cuomo, who has denied any wrongdoing, was joined by his younger brother on “a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor’s top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers,” according to Josh Dawsey and Sarah Ellison of The Washington Post.
Chris told Andrew to take “a defiant stand” and not to resign amid mounting calls from Democrats in the state legislature and most of the Empire State’s congressional delegation, according to The Post.
CNN released a statement to The Post acknowledging the calls and describing them as a mistake.
“Chris has not been involved in CNN’s extensive coverage of the allegations against Governor Cuomo – on air or behind the scenes,” CNN said in the statement. “In part because, as he has said on his show, he could never be objective. But also because he often serves as a sounding board for his brother.”
“However, it was inappropriate to engage in conversations that included members of the Governor’s staff, which Chris acknowledges,” the statement continued. “He will not participate in such conversations going forward.”
CNN also told The Post that the anchor will not face any discipline over the conference calls.
“There were a few phone conversations, with friends and advisers giving the governor advice,” Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman Rich Azzopardi told The Post.
The CNN anchor used the phrase “cancel culture” in one of the calls, according to two people on the line who spoke with The Post.
In mid-March, Andrew Cuomo used the same term when decrying lawmakers calling for his resignation.
The Cuomo brothers were also involved in a scandal around friends and family of the governor getting priority testing for COVID-19, which the governor’s office said was instead part of an effort to protect key personnel from the virus.
Chris is 13 years younger than Andrew, and the two had quite different childhoods when their father, Mario, was the 52nd governor of New York.
Andrew went to high school at St. Gerard Majella’s School in Queens before running his father’s first gubernatorial campaign in his early 20s, while Chris went to high school in Upstate New York at Albany Academy while Mario was governor in the 1980s.
Their relationship raised ethics concerns from media watchdogs when the governor would appear on his brother’s CNN show during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
-Joseph A. Wulfsohn (@JosephWulfsohn) May 20, 2021
One segment involving a comedic bit around a PCP test swab – which aired exactly one year before Thursday’s Post story – drew substantial backlash from viewers and political rivals before the pair stopped appearing together.